The following is from C. S. Lewis. It was written in 1948 after the dawn of the atomic age.
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
I have a precious Christian sister who lives in Virginia with her husband. They are some of our best friends. As she shared her concerns and fears about the present pandemic in the early days, I found it disturbing that a believer of deep faith could be so fearful about the developing circumstances, and she wasn’t alone as my wife told me about Instagram posts from other friends. So I reached out to her with the previous C.S. Lewis quote. That started a personal sharing by text that I share below — two friends pondering the events unfolding in our country and world. This will also serve as a chapter change of sorts of my comments on the pandemic of COVID-19 or the pandemic of fear. The mule is out of the barn so to speak, so I intend to focus future posts about how Christians might deal with the crisis in keeping with their faith in God and Christ Jesus the Lord, and not whether or not the threat is real.
My friend responded:
I totally agree with CS Lewis, however the reality is we can do everything possible to not panic and keep a level head. The ripple effect will be tremendous economically and we may have to reboot to a new normal.
Our son in law that is a Dr. is very sick at this moment and their family is home quarantined. He was actually tested for the virus yesterday but will not know for 5 days what the results are. The fast track results are only for individuals that are in respiratory distress. He wasn’t yesterday. Today is a different story. His mucus levels are rising and they are doing everything to try to keep them down. Courtney as you know is a nurse. She is trying to take care of him and work from home trying to keep dialysis clinics open with staff dropping like flies all the while she is trying to manage a rowdy energetic 4 year old that has no understanding of any of this. So she is in the trenches. Until now I didn’t quite understand the pandemonium. But having her in that position is making it more clear. If I leave the earth with this virus, all the while having taken precautions then that is how it was meant to be.
Love you guys and pray you and your family stay well.
I’m sorry for Courtney and all the millions of mom’s working and now with kids at home… there is rather suddenly a lot of suffering and sacrifice our nation is enduring with the prospect of it getting worse before it gets better. My conviction is (did you read my blogs on this?) that the fear and panic it is causing and going to cause is doing more damage than the disease could or would. Only time will tell. Praying you can find more peace. Love you guys! Abiding…DB
My friend replied:
I really do have peace about it because it truly is in God’s hands. The helplessness feeling I have is further proof that it not ours to control and it will be what it will be. I think we will see many miracles come out of this but not without suffering. I was telling someone weeks ago that our younger generations have not experienced anything to mold them like generations past. (Especially the greatest generation that lived through World Wars and the Great Depression) I was telling someone that something would happen to really identify what is important and what is not. Our spoiled Millennials that we created are about to find out what life is all about. So I definitely believe in silver linings and that all things will be to the glory of God.
Yes! You’re on to something there for sure. Only our God is able enough and good enough to oversee something like this. May He have mercy and abundantly supply Grace. Amen thanks:):)
Amen!! I’d love the games and being with you guys. And I know you would share! You’re Two of the most generous people I’ve ever known (can be spelled Gracious) :):) Love you and value your friendship very much… even from afar! :):) Shalom
Got this from one of my best friends (back to college days :)) who recently retired as CEO of a large hospital in NWA about how Drs. Are seeing the crisis, and I loved his last comment. We should all feel this way. ***
Talked to couple of physicians yesterday p.m.. here’s another perspective: They have both full resolve and are somewhat disheartened! On one hand, social separation strategy is aimed at getting us to warmer weather with people outside in the hopes the virus dissipates and goes away in 4-6 weeks. Thus, saving lives potentially. They think of little else beyond that it seems – economics, jobs, etc. in my experience this is typical doctor thinking. They are disheartened by level of cynicism about this feeling if it works people will say -“they over did for nothing”. And if it doesn’t work that “ they weren’t prepared”. I can understand some of that. They blame media by in large for distortion of reality – as I do – and the populous for falling for it. Interesting and thought I’d share. There are some warriors in healthcare, not all, and I love them for what they do.
I totally agree with his comment on doing too little or not enough. There is no way to win on this one.
From the medical side! Yes … probably but from the American leadership side and the populace?? They could have and should have shown more wisdom and faith vs fear, and guts to act on that…. We are more responsible than the medical community for what this has become… they are just doing what they’re charged and trained to do. Maybe the sad fact I don’t want to believe is that our nation has become so secular humanist and non God-fearing or God-trusting … that they’re just acting like you’d expect them to act? Again… God is mercifully showing us ourselves, and what we are without Him. Gratefully He is full of Mercy, Compassion, and Gracious beyond our understanding, and He hears our prayer. Amen
We should thank him for letting this happen and showing us these things… As in the old saying “If you find yourself in a deep pit, first stop digging.” And maybe pray like Eli when he got some bad news, “Let the LORD do what seems best to Him.” Amen אמן
:):) love ya